The League of United Latin American Citizens has come out in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico.
LULAC is the largest Hispanic advocacy group in the United States, with 132,000 members. Founded in 1929, LULAC focuses on civil rights, but also on education, health, and employment for Hispanic Americans in the 50 States and Puerto Rico.
Roger C. Rocha Jr., LULAC’s National President, pointed out that “[p]ermitting Puerto Rico statehood status is the best strategy for stabilizing Puerto Rico’s economy.”
The LULAC statement listed steps that would help meet this goal:
- Allowing chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, so that Puerto Rico can manage its debt in an orderly fashion
- Gaining full coverage of the Affordable Care Act
- Achieving equal coverage under Medicaid and Medicare
- Extending the Earned Income Tax Credit to Puerto Rico to encourage working families
Puerto Rico has now been a territory for 117 years, longer than any other territory the United States has ever owned. As Rocha points out, Puerto Ricans have been citizens since 1917, and since that time more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans have fought for the United States, their country.
LULAC’s general support for Puerto Rico builds on that of National Council of La Raza, and is a sign of increasing awareness of the importance of Puerto Rico’s status as a national issue.